Inocucor Technologies, Inc. and McGill University have signed a research and licensing agreement to co-produce a new class of sustainable bio-stimulant products for large-scale agriculture that have the potential to increase crop yields by at least 10 to 15 percent.
Inocucor's patented technology, developed by founders Dr. Maggie Bywater-Ekegärd and Ananda Fitzsimmons at the company's laboratory near Montreal, is based on the emerging science of microbial consortia -- or groups -- of yeast and bacteria that work together to sustainably improve soil quality and accelerate plant growth. A fermentation process similar to winemaking or brewing beer is used to isolate compatible and beneficial yeasts and bacteria into a single solution.
Inocucor's first-generation product, Garden Solution, is currently being sold as a soil amendment in the United States and as Aqua Solution, a water conditioner for ornamental ponds in Canada.
"Our colleagues at McGill share our excitement about the potential of Inocucor's technology as the basis for new products that integrate easily into standard farming practices, boost crop yields and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers on farms," said Dr. Bywater-Ekegärd.
Bywater-Ekegärd said the goal of the research collaboration with McGill's Department of Plant Sciences which is funded by Inocucor, is to identify and harness the power of Garden Solution's active microbes for development of new sustainable bio-stimulants for large-scale agricultural crops such as corn, soybean, canola and wheat.
The agreement follows McGill's two-year field trials with Inocucor Garden Solution conducted under the direction of Dr. Donald L. Smith, a pioneer researcher and expert in the field of plant-microbial interaction. McGill's recent trials of Garden Solution with corn and soybeans showed that it significantly speeded and synchronized crop emergence after planting and produced remarkably healthy, more resilient plants. Complete field study results can be found at www.inocucor.com/science/field-studies
"Inocucor's microbial innovations have huge implications for agriculture," said McGill's Smith. "The McGill team will study these active microbials with the intention of creating products for conventional farmers that give them a sustainable way to enhance yields and improve long-term health of soils."
The McGill partnership is the second collaboration announced by Inocucor in as many months. In September, Inocucor cemented its first commercial strategic partnership with Axter Agrosciences Inc., one of Canada's leading providers of foliar feeding crop solutions. That partnership followed positive field test results conducted by Axter with Inocucor's second-generation product, a cell-free growth stimulant.
Inocucor recently received two rounds of venture capital funding from Montreal-based Cycle Capital Management, a Canadian Cleantech venture capital fund.